The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays located adjacent the Coast guard Station, 39375 Inlet Road, Rehoboth Beach, DE. Is a non profit organization that works to keep our bays clean and introduce programs to help promote the reviving of the bays, such as oysters. Many people think this is a “government” organization and that is just not the case. The center survives on donations, and work from volunteers. Many of their volunteers are avid anglers. The center has a conference room that different organizations use to meet. And the building is a great example of “green” technology in use, such as solar panels, a rain garden, and small windmill. The center does a lot of great things for our area watersheds. I look forward to doing some projects this coming year with the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays. I asked Chris Bason a laundry list of questions and he summarized them all for us.
Executive Director, Delaware Center for the Inland Bays
Fishing is a way of life on our coast, and the Inland Bays are a big part of that. Fishing in the Bays is strong. They receive about 350,000 fishing trips each year, up almost threefold from that late 1980s. Fishing is a significant part of coastal tourism, which is the area’s most important industry by far. Keeping fishing strong will help keep our community strong.
Our job at the Center is to work with the community to restore the Bays — so that we can all enjoy clean, clear waters that are full of fish. Since we got started in 1994, we’ve made huge progress towards our goal of keeping excess nutrients out to the water. There are now only 3 wastewater pipes directly discharging into the Bays; that’s down from 13 originally. The last three discharges will be addressed by 2014. The agricultural community has also contributed to clean water by totally changing the way fertilizers are managed on farms. And the average citizen is now more aware of the benefits a healthy watershed, and how they can contribute to that.
Since 1994, the Center has also been busy protecting and enhancing marshes, restoring bay grasses, and working to get more shellfish in the bays. All of these ecosystems filter the water, reduce coastal storm damage, and provide fish habitat. The bays and their tributaries are important nursery habitat for so many of the fish that we enjoy. In 2011, the Center started a shorezone fish monitoring program to track changes in the numbers and types of fish that use the Bays. The program has 15 sampling sites and is run totally by volunteers. By the way, over time there have been over 112 different species of fish recorded using the Bays.
I personally fish every chance I get. This year, it was a blast to see some new fish and some old friends in the Bays and the surf. Catching red fish and trout from the kayak really made my year, and I’m praying that it keeps up for next year. The fishing secret about the Inland Bays is that you can catch fish you wouldn’t expect in some out of the way places — if you put your time in. Also I have to add that this past year it was amazing to see stripers pulled from the inlet all winter long. I feel like we are blessed with the fishing we have here.
We’re equally fortunate to have friends like DSF that help promote healthy Bays. The Center receives a huge amount of community support — we rely on it to be the local voice for the Bays. Check us out online at inlandbays.org and on Facebook and become a member or come volunteer with us. We have volunteer opportunities for research, outreach, committee work, and for clean-up and restoration projects. Well folks it’s off to the 16-Mile Brewery in Georgetown tonight! They brewed up another batch of their insanely good Oyster Stout to support shellfish restoration projects in Delaware. Wishing everyone great fishing for the coming year!
Thanks Chris, and we look forward to working with the center this year.